Report: Progress in negotiations for prisoners swap with Hamas

Israel negotiating for release of Israeli held in Gaza, report says. Government coordinator: Hamas not allowing progress on issue.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 7:19 PM

Hadar Goldin (L) and Oron Shaul (R)
Hadar Goldin (L) and Oron Shaul (R)
Courtesy of the families

An Arab news site reported that that a senior Israeli delegation is currently in Cairo, Egypt, for negotiations regarding a prisoner swap with Hamas.

According to the report, the delegation includes "senior Israeli officials" who are discussing the possibility of returning Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed and the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to Israel.

It was also reported that the Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo at the same time as a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo for a "surprise visit."

However, Yaron Blum, Israel's government coordinator for prisoners and missing persons, said: "Unfortunately and despite our best efforts, Hamas refuses to adopt a realistic approach which will allow true progress on the issue."

News 12 added that Israeli sources said there has been no breakthroughs in negotiations, and Hamas is "very distant" in its stance.

Hamas has been holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since they were killed during a United Nations-brokered ceasefire during 2014's Operation Protective Edge. The Goldin family has repeatedly emphasized that the Israeli government should not release terrorists in exchange for their son's body.

Avera (Avraham) Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, both of whom are mentally unstable and accidentally crossed into Gaza, are believed to be held by Hamas as well. Mengistu is an Ethiopian Israeli, and al-Sayed is an Israeli Arab.